Lewis and Clark Trail, 8 yrs of it...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LewisNClark, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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  2. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    "..but all take the liberty of obeying the dictates of nature without reserve."
    :photog
  3. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    In their defense: Most of Lewis’ education came from home schooling from his Mother, then at 12 his mother sent him to be boarded with a minister to continue more education from the preacher, then he became President Thomas Jefferson’s apprentice secretary, who had a vast library Lewis was given access to. After learning to read well Lewis taught himself most of what he learned. Learned Latin so he could properly name plants their appropriate Latin name. Mastered astronomy and used of a sexton, sun and a chronometer To calculate latitude and longitude. I’m still impressed when Lewis stood on Lemhi Pass on the Continental Divide, with a stick and the dirt at his feet, and calculated the coordinates that the Pacific Ocean was 670 miles away and had a 1,200 foot drop in elevation. Telling Clark that they were in for some rough terrain and many high waterfalls....he was right and only missed the mileage by about 27 miles. Today there is a marker on the exact site Where Lewis did the calculations..how do they know, Lewis later wrote down his coordinates in his journal. Lewis was an extremely bright guy.

    Clark was very bright but said he went to the 5th grade in a one room school. But his primary education was as a surveyor with his older brother, General George Rogers Clark. Lewis taught Clark most of what he learned about calculating coordinates at Cairo, Ill. Clark was excellent in math and sketching maps and scenes they came across, but horrible at spelling, punctuation and grammar. Clark was well known for writing several pages in his journal WITH ONE PERIOD AND NO COMMAS.

    Of the 33 members of the Expedition half had German, Irish, British accents, and L&C and the 12 young men from Kentucky had strong Southern accents, chewed tobacco, and loved their whiskey.

    0f the 33 members only 6 could read and write. So Drouilllard did not know how to spell his own name either, giving Clark a good excuse for his 5 spellings. Spelling was no big deal in the 1700 and 1800s, mainly due to lack of books (printing presses) and so few were literate. All 33 were exceptional in many ways besides books.
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  4. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    The journals are truly fascinating and an eye-opening read. Those men endured more hardships than a present-day person can imagine, including difficult terrain, dangerous animals, biting insects, near-constant rain often with no shelter, cold and heat, injuries and sickness... Lewis's descriptions of the natives are nothing at all like what we have been led to believe through our entertainment industry. Even their struggle with finding food is eye-opening. Lewis made the following comment early in the return trip not too far up the river past future Portland: "I also purchased four paddles and three dogs from them with deerskins. the dog now constitutes a considerable part of our subsistence and with most of the party has become a favorite food; certain I am that it is a healthy strong diet, and from habit it has become by no means disagreeable to me, I prefer it to lean venison or Elk, and is very far superior to the horse in any state. " They consumed hundreds during the expedition.

    I grew up near Sacagawea State Park and even rode my motorcycle past dozens of L&C marked sites as a teenager. I regret not studying the Corps of Discovery in detail over 50 years ago when I had such a great opportunity.
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  5. spuh

    spuh Been here awhile

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    No need to defend them in my book; autodidacts' misspellings may be excused by their lack of formal training. They took the initiative and learned just what interested them, not necessarily a well rounded curriculum. They took the initiative and did the work necessary to learn because they were driven to do so. Nowadays we're given for free those treasures they fought so diligently to learn, yet far too many of us squander that opportunity. As if an education is only worth what we pay for it
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  6. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    You bring forth the idea (to me) that we need a strong technical system for those that have aptitudes in certain areas with a narrow focus. As in the L&C example in your post, some are driven/have an interest in a small area and the general education causes many not to go to college (as well as cost) because they will or do fail.
  7. gianttrack

    gianttrack Adventurer

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    Just to entice others to experience the Wild and Scenic portion of the Upper Missouri River, here is a sampling of the photos I took in 2013. Besides the experience of standing where the Expedition camped and camping nearby, the scenery is amazing, you will see eagles, white pelicans, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife. There are many abandoned homesteads that may be explored, which will certainly give you reverence for the fortitude of those that came after Lewis and Clark. This section of the river is remote, with only a couple of road crossings in 149 miles. If you go during the shoulder seasons, you may have the river to yourself. We saw maybe 6 other paddlers in 8 days in early September. IMG_2936.JPG IMG_2956.JPG IMG_2957.JPG IMG_2965.JPG IMG_2965.JPG IMG_3010.JPG IMG_3060.JPG IMG_2970.JPG
  8. MTBRALPH

    MTBRALPH Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the photos. I plan to kayak part of their journey.
    Ralph
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  9. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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  10. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    This thread had me fire up the parallel twin and go check out some areas I have neglected over the years. Start point of the expedition. Have some photos of the 200 year reenactment of L & C riding up from the Ohio to Locust Grove where George Rogers Clark was staying with his sister Lucy (lived there the last nine years of his life and you can still walk into the room were he died) but they are pre digital (I was a bit slow getting a digital camera as the old one still worked :doh... I also rode a KLR for 8 years before the AT..:muutt..slow to upgrade).

    Attached Files:

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  11. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Just adding a few footnotes:

    The below site is where Lewis and Seaman (his Newfoundland Dog) landed their barge/keelboat when arriving at Clarksville. This landing site is in front of the Clark cabin. Clarksville, Indiana is directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. General Clark was a well known smart military commander. Before Lewis left in the Keelboat Gen Clark helped him make a list of modifications to the keelboat that they would do at Camp Dubois in St Louis over the Winter months they were stranded there.

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    The cabin was the home of Wm Clark's older brother General George Rogers Clark.
    Gen Clark taught Wm Clark how to be a surveyor and educated him in math and most everything else he knew. The little cabin (replica) behind the larger cabin was the home of York, Clark's slave who went along on the L&C Expedition, but received no pay or land grants for his participation in the 3 yr trip.

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    Gen George Clark was best friends with James Audubon, the well known bird historian who was one of the first to publish significant books about birds, and founder of the Audubon Society.

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  12. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    Thanks for sparking this history lesson years ago, LnC.
    In, hook, line & sinker, as often as possible.
    LoLo Motoway, last year.

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  13. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Digger - Trips to do in Oregon:
    I was in Oregon a few years ago sitting by the banks of the Columbia River looking at the little island I'd been looking for. In 1806 the Expedition was headed east towards home, 2800 miles away, but was out of food and Lewis wrote that all they had to trade for food could fit in his hat. Desperate Lewis decided to trade anything non-essential, his steel branding iron was one of the first things to go to an Indian Chief for a string of a dozen fish to feed the 33 men.

    Camped by the below island Lewis made the trade. The below island to this day is a sacred Indian gravesite and the Indian who traded for the branding iron is believed to have used it as a marker for someone's grave. There are still Indian grave markers on the island today.

    History flows by for a 100 yrs and someone found the branding iron on the Washington state side of the Columbia River. The story is a rail road crew found the branding iron while putting in a new track. The branding iron ended up donated to the Oregon Historical Museum. Knowing it is only displayed a couple of months each year...I called the museum begging and their response was "come on by".

    Ended up they had my book and opened their vault and handed me the branding iron into my sweaty palms. What an honor! Surprised that it is only about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

    The island called “Memaloose”, was derived from the Chinook Indian language to mean, “land of the dead”. Memaloose Island was used as a burial grounds when the expedition passed the area in 1805 and again in 1806 heading east back home. Their has been much debate that the humongous Columbia River's water depth is not like it was 219 years ago when the L&C Exp passed. Especially since so many dams and locks have been built since they passed the area. Memaloose Island still stands as a measuring stick confirming little or no change to the water depth.


    The Branding Iron -
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    An image of the Branding Iron done in ink. The large box area below Lewis' name on the branding iron was used to write in the contents of the barrel being branded.
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    The Island in the middle of the Columbia River where the Branding Iron was found.
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    Lewis originally had the Branding Iron made at Harpers Ferry Armory gun factory to use for branding his wooden crates of rifles, gun powder, Indian tools to give away, etc. He branded the barrels when they were picked up but kept it and used it to brand tree trunks across the country to mark their travels. He used it frequently when they reached the Columbia River.

    Edit: Just discovered this, that another use of the Branding Iron was to brand the over 100 horses the Captains bought during their west and east travels. After Lemhi Pass, crossed over the Lolo they had around 38 horses that they left with the Nez Perce Indians near Weippi Idaho for the Winter and before heading down the Columbia. Returning the next year they separated their horses from the Nez Perce's horses buy looking for the brand marks. The little knobs on the sides of the branding iron were for attaching a metal handle when the branding iron was heated in a campfire.
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  14. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    One of my favorite scenes along the Lewis and Clark Trail....off the side of a Freeway is this farmer’s place at the start of the Upper Missouri River Breaks....near Fort Benton, MT, the Missouri River does a complete U. Farmer’s home is visible at 3:00. The town of Fort Benton is at 9:00 o'clock and is down a huge ravine next to the Missouri River banks. At 1:00 in the horizon is the start of the Upper Missouri River Breaks.

    BEST VIEWED AT FULL SCREEN.

    https://lewisandclark.smugmug.com/Video-Travels/i-2SxfxdH
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  15. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for this thread! I can't believe I didn't see it until just recently, I've been a big fan of L&C for a long time. I read the (edited) version of the journals over 15 years ago and always thought about following his route. I have stopped by the the gravesite on the Natchez Trace a couple of times.. And in 2006 my wife and I were traveling home from a month-long road trip (by car) to British Columbia. Just by pure coincidence, we camped near Lolo Pass almost exactly 200 years from the day that Corps of Discovery passed through! I think we missed the celebration at the Lolo Pass visitors center by one day! Sadly, we were on a time crunch and didn't get to visit any of the other sites or memorials on that trip.

    Just for some inspiration, I rode out yesterday to find the Millstone Creek community and John Marks homestead. I posted a few pictures here

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/your-best-old-structure-pic.128376/page-370#post-39121714

    Hope I got the details correct..
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  16. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    This is one of my favorite piece's of American History! The pure unknown adventure of it all is hard to take in. Lewis and Clark the whole story even the tragic ending. Thanks for the report. My wife and I rode to all the oregon spots back in 2004.
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  17. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

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    In case you are interested, my former Geography professor at Ga. State Univ. published a paper about the climate conditions during the CoD expedition. You can find it here:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-85-9-1289

    When we passed through Lolo pass late June of 2006, it was quite warm and only a small amount of snow in higher elevations. Quite a bit different than what L&C experienced!
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  18. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks, the PDF file is really interesting....Did not even know weather data was captured in the 1800's. But weather data was extracted from variances in tree rings. PDF breaks it down by fort and campsites.

    A riding buddy and I entered the Lolo Motorway 2 yrs ago on July 2, to find a Forest Ranger gate had it closed due to 2 feet of snow on the top of the Lolo, July 2.
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  19. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

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    So with the current world situation, I as I’m sure many others are, have been doing a lot of reading.
    I found this thread from a link in a recent thread started called “Your favourite ride report” and has taken a few days to get through it.

    Just amazing the research and time LnC has put into this.
    Thank you

    I find it amazing that these early ADVr’s survived this with only loss of 1.
    Tough, resourceful guys. (And gal)

    Makes me wonder how different our history, current geography (borders) could be IF they had not completed their mission?
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  20. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for reviving the old RR. Glad you enjoyed.

    Still doing the Lewis and Clark Trail every chance I can, but the good parts are 2,000 miles from home. Thought I'd throw out a little of last falls trip.
    Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

    The Trail is amazingly scenic. The boys did not plan it that way but Clark consistently tried to set up the camps at scenic sites. Typical view of Oregon landscape approaching a campsite 10 miles ahead.

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    Leaving the Columbia River the Expedition was heading up dozens of rapids in 2,000 lb dugout canoes, the Nezperce Indian and other tribe chiefs told the Captains that their was a short cut to Weippe,(Idaho) (bottom of the Lolo mountains) that they could save many days over land and miss all the waterfalls/rapids.

    The Chief scratched a map in the dirt and the Captains quickly decided to take the short cut (probably 30-40 land miles) to avoid the upstream Columbia and Clearwater Rivers and immediately started trading pots, pans and medical care for horses. The below site is one of their first campsites. I can pretty much assure anyone that the farmer at this site does not know L&C and the boys camped in his backyard by the clear running stream 215 years ago.
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    When L&C reached Lemhi Pass all present kept writing about the beautiful horses like none that they had never seen. Over the next 100 years this region of the United States became known for Appaloosa horses, and eventually Moscow, Idaho became the center of appaloosa breeding. This horse, followed me around the fence...making me wonder if this was one of the offspring of the 30-40 horses traded for along the Columbia River.

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    I knew their route from the L&C Journals but as normal the locals provide a sign and map that confirms the route. I've rarely seen a marker or sign with erroneous information, and rarely seen a remote marker with out a bullet hole. Following the L&C Trail does require reading through bird poop and bullet holes.

    The map sign is a little unique. At this campsite they were down to a couple of days of what little they had to eat. Lewis orders Ordway and another soldier to head for the Snake River and bring back as many salmon they could haul. Meanwhile most of the men were out hunting for deer, which were rare in this area. The Indians measured distance in moons or suns. They estimated 2 or 3 moons but obviously did not know how far it was (and no one knew exactly) or how to get to the Snake River, simply knew is was South. As the main L&C party continued on, Ordway's crew struggled with the route over a week and later returned with six salmon and estimated a 90 mile route. This sign below shows the direction and route that Ordway and his crew left their camp.

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    Leaving this camp the troops climbed this hillside. Most were on horseback but a few were on foot. Their cooking utensils were pretty critical for hygiene cooking. The previous day from this camp Lewis traded one of their three cast iron kettles for a decent horse for Private Willard. The next night Private Willard failed to hobble his new horse and it ran off during the night towards the Indian village they had traded the kettle for the horse. Hobbling is tying a rope around the front legs of a horse so they can graze during the night but can't and won't run off. Lewis was not a happy camper.

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    Leaving one campsite for another....heading down a 1 way gravel road for at least 20 miles I ran into this....a local ranchers put up this illustration of a Lewis and Clark campsite. All the life sized silhouettes are steel plates cut out to look like the human, dog, horse or whatever was being displayed. Gives you an image of the size of a campsite and the activities that occurred at each days camp. They were broken into 3 platoons and each man had his or her normal daily responsibilities that this display so well illustrated. L & C were almost always catching up on their journals and maps, Shields was making a fire to melt more bullets or welding something broken and sharing his fire with the cooks, Braxton and Willard, Drouillard was often gutting and cleaning the hunter's deer or elk, Sacajawea was chopping up roots to make baby food, at this point they frequently hobbled all the horses at the end of the day to keep from loosing any valuable horses, and some other team was skinning and butchering dogs for supper.

    The below display is on some ranchers property and a lot of people did an amazing job of building the display and maintaining it. The town of Dayton, Washington is tiny, probably a population of 200 or 300 people.

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    This is the campsite near Pomeroy.

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    Attached Files:

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